The twice delayed Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) SES mission was postponed for a third time on Sunday.
Originally set to launch Feb. 24 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. (Defense Daily, Feb. 24), the Falcon 9 rocket mission carrying the SES-9 payload was earlier slipped to Feb. 25 and then again to Feb. 28.
The SES-9 is a communications satellite destined for Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). It has a payload of 81 high-powered LU-band transponder equivalents and is set to be the seventh SES satellite. SES-9 is planned to provide expanded and replacement coverage for Northeast Asia, South Asia, and Indonesia.
After stage separation, the first stage of the Falcon 9 was planned to attempt an experimental landing on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship. Previously the company said a successful landing is not expected for to the mission’s unique GTO profile.
The Air Force first placed a hold on launch because a boat entered the edge of the exclusion zone within an hour of launch on Sunday, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said in a Twitter post.
Later, the company said the ignition sequence was aborted in the final seconds of the countdown due to a low thrust alarm. “Rising oxygen temps due to hold for boat and helium bubble triggered alarm,” Elon Musk clarified on Twitter.
Following the abort, the launch was officially scrubbed at 7:34 p.m. EST. “The range will begin evaluating new launch dates from the customer no earlier than 48 hours from Feb. 28, 2016,” the Air Force 45th Space Wing said in a statement Sunday.
SpaceX highlighted on Twitter that despite the launch scrub, the vehicle and spacecraft are healthy.
The SES-9 mission was originally planned for late 2015. SES-9 was built by Boeing [BA].